You’ll soon be able to use the internet and even make calls while you are flying with a major airline in India. This will soon be possible because the Department of Telecom (DOT), Information Technology (MeitY) and Ministry of Electronics has issued the rules for proving network connectivity onboard commercial flights.
So now major telecom operators can apply for a license for providing in-flight connectivity on domestic and international flights from and to India. These regulations came almost a year after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) admitted its recommendations to DoT.
Among the few top telecom operators, Airtel and Jio have shown significant interest in bringing these services to flyers in India. Thus, these have been named as “Flight and Maritime Connectivity Rules, 2018”, Economic Times reported.
Telecom operators will also be able to provide in-flight and maritime connectivity (IFMC) services by dedicated satellites working in tandem with earth stations which is located in India. People will only be able to see these services once the aeroplane reaches a minimum height of 3,000 meters and this is to prevent any interference with the surface-based mobile networks.
Although, out of the largest airlines in India, SpiceJet has told the Times of India that its ‘Boeing 737’ max carrier comes pre-fitted with SatCom, leaving it to facilitate in-flight internet services as soon as the DoT completes these regulations. And on the other hand, top international airlines such as Emirates, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways etc. formally was offering in-flight internet connectivity but were forced to turn it off whenever they enter the Indian airspace to agree with the earlier regulations.
Although operators will be offered the license for the in-flight and maritime connectivity for only Re 1, these providers will still have to pay spectrum fees to the DoT based on their earnings.
And lastly, airlines could also charge the users extra for these services they are to offer, but we are expecting Jio to provide some bundled offerings exclusively to its users.